god help me, I’m supposed to have a baby in a month

My due date is in a month (less by a few days, if you want to get technical), and I am trying to get ready for this baby. Which is, of course, impossible.

But I finally bought a changing pad, so that’s good, I think. It’s all-natural! So she won’t die of the toxins! Bear is worried about the toxins.

I finally realized that I had to get some stuff. Like a car seat. Fine. I got it. I don’t have any idea how it works, but it is in my apartment, lurking, a huge plastic husk. A symbol of my incompetence and the inevitability of my new responsibilities. Or maybe just an ugly car seat (there are no pretty car seats, by the way).

I am trying to get my head ready for this baby. I’d like to feel good about myself when she’s born. Is that a lot to ask? It might be.

In general, I think being pregnant has made me feel better about myself. Which is fairly amazing, really, since I was worried I’d be one of those women who gets depressed from the hormones. Since I think I tend in that direction anyway. So this was a pleasant surprise. But it’s not like I turned into some skipping, delightful pixie with a face full of smiles all the time. Ha. Like I could skip. My uterus would hit me in the chin.

happy_fairy_by_rullyanto_wibisono

(source)

 

Today, I’m sitting here thinking about how I haven’t done enough with my life. That’s always my thing, you know. I’m not very creative. When I think this, because of the therapy I’ve had, I try to figure out what I have done and focus on that. Well, I tell myself in an upbeat headvoice that sounds suspiciously like my mother, you’ve written a lot of essays!

Who cares? I counter, immediately, because I am good at countering with a hearty negative.

I’m about to bring a new life into the world and I don’t even have a grip on my own life. It’s a disaster, probably. It might not be. But it could very well be.

This poor kid. I’m sure she’d prefer it if her mother had a grip. If her mother had done things with her life aside from write essays. Should I have tried to become a doctor? It’s too late!

That’s the thing. It’s all too late. She’s going to come out. It’s so ridiculously unavoidable. She is already in position. I know, because of how her head keeps bouncing merrily on my very sensitive cervix. Until recently, I hadn’t had occasion to interact with this part of my body. It seemed sort of distant and theoretical. Now I know something very important about it: it hurts like hell.

She is not going to stay in. And then what? What will I do?

“What will we do with her?” I keep asking Bear.

We’ve agreed that we will play with her and change her diaper. We have no idea. Oh, I’ll feed her! Yes. I’ll do that. I hope it doesn’t crack my nipples and make them bleed. I hear that happens sometimes. But not when you get the right latch! I read that. It’s all about the latch. I just have to get the latch right. Then I can be a champion breastfeeder. My body evolved for this. It did. It did. My body evolved for all of this. It’s just my damn brain that’s the problem…

happy_fairy_by_elchanan-d5vvs4w

(nope. not me…source)

I am very pregnant and lumbering and bitter today, in my one dress that still fits, just letting my damn feet swell up like lumpy balloons because I can’t type lying down with them elevated, can I? I can’t live my life like that! I’m supposed to make a cucumber smoothie. That’s what my midwife suggested. I am supposed to be trying perineal massage, because there’s a chance it might work (my midwife said probably not, my doula said probably). I don’t want to. I am being a stubborn child. I don’t want to stick my fingers in my vagina and try to stretch it out. I don’t want Bear to do that. I don’t want to deal with my vagina at all. And that is probably the wrong approach. I know I’ll have to deal with it. All sorts of things will come out of it. I will be there. I will have to cope. But do I have to start now?

I am procrastinating. I’m not practicing breathing. I’m not practicing labor positions. I am not meditating or running through the very long list of affirmations (“My body is meant for birth! I am designed for this! Later on, I will get the latch right, too!”). I am not even thinking very positively. I am not reading the baby books. I am not reading the breastfeeding books. I am failing to nest, which I know would be nice for everyone, because it would definitely involve me doing more dishes.

There are all these women on the Babycenter messageboards who are SO READY to have their babies. They can’t wait! They are so excited that they only have TWO MORE WEEKS!!!!! Some of them are already having their babies. Real human babies, with limbs and eyes and stuff, who are dressed in little silly hats and huge bows to signify that they’re girls and blue to signify that they aren’t. These anonymous internet women have crossed over to the other side and they are busily posting pictures from that unimaginable realm. They are describing their labors in extreme detail and they are SO glad that they got the epidural. Before that, the pain was the worst thing they’d ever, ever, EVER experienced.

happy_fairy

(not like this. sorry, for some reason, these fairy pictures are cracking me up right now. source)

Why did I think doing a birth without pain meds would be a good idea, again?

I made so many decisions, way back when, before I was a month away from my due date. Before my belly kept getting suddenly tight with those braxton hicks practice contractions that won’t ever let you forget that the real ones are going to come, like the single zombie staggering onto your secluded little farm. You should know by now…there’s never just one. It’s going to be a zombie apocalypse.

I keep acting like a normal person, around strangers in the grocery store and around friends, too. “Yup! Getting excited!” I say, when people ask me how I’m feeling about everything. “End of July! Coming up!” I say, when random people on the street ask my due date. I agree that it’d be cool if my baby were born on their birthday. “I’ll try to make that happen for you!” I joke, wittily. I nod sagely—Leo is a great astrological sign. That’s what I hear.

I keep acting like a regular person who is just going to go ahead and have a baby like it’s no big thing. People do this all the time. This is totally self-evident. This is just life. After this, I’ll eat a sandwich.

But oh my god, how can I possibly do this?

How?

And what if I should’ve at least tried to get into med school?

I only have a month left. Maybe less!! This morning, I woke up and I felt crampy. Crampy!! That’s a sign of labor!! A SIGN OF LABOR!!!

Very soon, god help me, I will cross over, and I will be a mother forever. And there will be absolutely no going back. Ever. I hope it’s a good sandwich. I think I’m going to demand pastrami.

* *  *

I don’t even know. If you have kids/a kid– did you nest? When did it start?

Unroast: Today I love the way I feel when I eat watermelon. It is really the best thing ever.

P.S. I feel weirdly a lot better after writing this. It felt sort of like a confession. The Catholics are totally onto something…

63 Comments »

Kate on July 3rd 2013 in fear, life, motherhood, pregnancy

63 Responses to “god help me, I’m supposed to have a baby in a month”

  1. Kate responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 9:06 am #

    No nesting. Dry eyed at birth. Hated being pregnant, miserable. Loved giving birth. One long and medically interventionist, one with no drugs. The latter much better. Yes it hurt but loved feeling my body do its thang. I know it’s pointless me saying it but the pregnancy & birth are the easy parts. Don’t worry about all that birth plan, affirmation, perineal massage stuff. It will change nothing. Your body is going to do what it’s going to do. Focus on after. Line up some cleaning if you can, if people ask you if they can do anything, ask for food, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Your kid will love you regardless!

  2. Kate responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Love this. Thank you.

    My freezer isn’t really working right now, so I can’t get a bunch of frozen food like people suggest. I think I’ll just send our mothers and fathers/stepfathers out to the grocery store a lot, while they’re all hanging out?

  3. Jess responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I had to laugh about ugly carseats. You are so right – there are not pretty ones.

    “I’m about to bring a new life into the world and I don’t even have a grip on my own life.”

    Want to know a secret? None of us do. ;) One really cool thing is that we get to keep learning and growing and changing, even after having a baby. I’ve had three, and the biggest, awesomest, getting-a-grip-est changes came during and after my pregnancy with my third son. I also knew a woman who went to med school while pregnant with her FIFTH child. Wowza. I have no such ambition, just thought I’d let you know that if you really want it, you can do it.

    Regarding labor pain – first, back slowly away from the birth stories if they’re wigging you out. Now: I did have three unmedicated births. I don’t regret them at all. Were they uncomfortable? Hell, yes. Did that discomfort suck sometimes? Yes, that too. But here’s the thing – feeling my body helped me to work with it. It hurts to run a marathon, yet marathon runners still do it willingly, right? And for what it’s worth, it was nowhere near the worst pain of my life. Illness, surgery, injury all hurt more. Labor is more like really, really hard work.

    You asked about nesting. I did nest, but I don’t think it was the frantic-cleaning kind of nesting. It was more like the OMG-this-room-must-be-painted-NOW kind of nesting. This insane feeling that the whole world would cease to turn if I did not have every single little detail just right. (I didn’t have the details perfect, and everything was fine.) From what I remember of my pregnancies and friends’ pregnancies, the intense need to do whatever counts as nesting for each of us happened shortly before the baby was born.

    It’s OK if you’re not in some kind of blissful, house-cleaning, bootie-knitting, yay-baby delirium. In fact, good for you! I wish somebody had told me to REST (Ok, somebody probably did, and I probably ignored them). Sleep in, go to a movie with Bear, and don’t worry, you’re just as normal as all those gushy uber-nesty moms.

    Sorry to write a book – had to let you know that you’re just fine!

  4. Courtney responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 9:59 am #

    I am so glad to have read this and that you wrote it. When the time comes I feel as this is almost exactly how my reaction will be. Always refreshing to hear from moms/moms-to-be who aren’t the stereotypical overly happy gushing with excitement gee whilickers this is the best gosh darn thing ever.

  5. Marie responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I don’t think you know you are nesting, except in hindsight. Mine was bizarre, unhelpful things. I think a couple days before I had my first we came home from dinner with my parents and I made my husband move the stove and refrigerator and we cleaned every inch of the kitchen, including the ceiling.
    And I agree about not reading labor stories. You can trade them like Pokemon cards with other moms later, but it is not healthy or helpful before. The other thing I would say is to not rule out an epidural. Go into it saying you will go as far as you can, but if you have a long labor, I don’t see any reason to exhaust yourself- you have to take care of the baby after you get this done, so might as well do it te easiest way. The only reason I did the first without and plan on doing the current one without is because my labor was 5 hours start to finish. You can stand anything for that long :)

  6. Kim responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I soooooooo hear you. When I had my first, I actually loved being pregnant, but as we got closer to the due date, I became absolutely terrified. I never wanted him to come out. I felt like my life as I knew it was about to end. I was actually pissed off when I started having contractions on my due date. I was born 2 weeks late, so he should have given me 2 more weeks, right?

    And I also remember the idea of labor making me feel completely alone. My husband could not help me shoulder that particular burden. He couldn’t have a couple of contractions for me so I could rest for a minute. I had to do it all by myself. And it was going to happen whether I liked it or not. And it was going to happen in whatever way it happened. I had no choice. I felt helpless.

    So here’s the good news: it turned out just fine. Yes, there was pain and it was scary. But it’s just for one day. And the thing about raising a child is that there is so much that you cannot control, and you have to learn to let go and just accept that things are changing and things are going to happen however they happen. You certainly influence your child, but that child is going to be whoever she is going to be and have whatever personality she has, and you don’t get to have a say in that. So I actually think pregnancy and childbirth are good training for what lies ahead.

    And don’t worry about the latch. You’ll get there. Might happen right away, might take weeks. But again, it’s not something you can control. And it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom if it doesn’t happen right away. These things just take time sometimes.

  7. Erin Lee responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Everyone in the world thinks you’ll be fabulous… as little as that actually makes you feel better. I have to admit, ridiculously, that your confession makes me feel better about having a baby someday, too. It’s refreshing… I’ve seen so many people I know dive right into motherhood and seem like they have no insecurities. I can tell now it’s going to be one of those I-just-have-to-do-it-or-else-I’ll-over-think-it-and-chicken-out things. I talked with a lady yesterday who just had her 1st seven months ago. She admitted to having a huge learning curve, but hey, everyone does, no matter how prepared you are. I’m banking on that, since I’ve never even babysat! Have bear figure out the car seat. You’re busy enough growing a baby!

  8. karen responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    My dirty mom secret? It took me MONTHS to even begin to like my first born. Never could get her to latch. Only nursed her for 8 painful weeks before HAPPILY switching to bottles.

    Second kid came out with a PERFECT latch. I wasn’t planning to breastfeed much – just in the hospital, then switch to bottles when we got home. 8 months later, and I’m still breastfeeding her. She will NOT take a bottle. Just one of those things…

  9. Raia responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I have one child and didn’t ever feel the need to nest. I avoided big baby stores, too overwhelming. All that stuff! And no way to know if my baby would like any of it. It felt like shopping for a stranger.

    As for the latch thing, if you are struggling at all, ask for help from others. For the first week or so after my daughter was born I asked anyone and everyone who came to my house who I suspected knew anything about breastfeeding to check the latch for me. I had a relatively straightforward experience, some soreness, but overall a positive experience.

    One of the great things about being a mom, is that for the most part, all your baby really wants, is you. I read a study recently that just being held (by their mother) dropped upset babies’ heart rates in 20 seconds or less. It’s really powerful and tender knowing that just being there for her, even if I can’t really make things better, helps my daughter when she’s upset. Somehow becoming a mother made me capable of this magic calming ability, I can feel her little body relax in my arms. This is not to say she stops crying, just that she feels safe :) .

    Your daughter is blessed to have you as her mother, you’ll do great!

  10. M. responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Thank you. I am entering my third trimester and all your posts have grounded and validated me through my pregnancy. I haven’t had that “glowing” pregnancy experience and sometimes feel super guilty and inadequate that I’m not nesting and reading and listening graciously to every veteran mom I meet. I was super excited and making plans and being a crazy control freak for the first few weeks. But by the time the second trimester hit and I was still unmanageably I’ll, I realized plans are a joke. This whole pregnancy has been a physical, mental, and emotional struggle– and that’s OK!!! What matters is how I raise my son, and I’m hoping I’ll be pretty good at that. What matters is how I’ll continue to grow as an individual and not “just” a mom after he is born. The latter will be the more difficult task.

  11. Tobasco responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    You sound a lot like I did. Except I read a lot. Breast feeding is natural but it does not come naturally. You both have to learn what the heck you’re doing. Contrary to what another response said, I would not ask too many people for advise (ESPECIALLY your pediatrician unless they are certified lactation consultants as well!!! There is no instruction on breast feeding in medical school. Some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard has come from well-meaning but ill-informed pediatricians). There is so much bad information out there, as a society we don’t understand breast feeding, it is a lost art for sure. Ask your midwife or doula for phone numbers to BOARD CERTIFIED lactation consultants. Get the numbers now while you can still think straight. Or you could go to a Le Leche League meeting before she comes. See how it fits your personality.

    As for the nesting I don’t think I ever technically went through that phase with my daughter. I did freak outfit a bit because we didn’t have a car seat or a place for her to sleep until right before my due date. But otherwise I was just overwhelmed with a sense of not having any idea what to do once the baby got here. I would have these terrible nightmares that I 1) just simply forgot to feed her and that she died and I went to jail or 2) I completely forgot I had a baby, went to the store or some other place only to remember while I was out and come home to find the house had burned down. So yeah, I had LOADS of anxiety that continued post partum.

    Anywhooooo my intention is not to scare you only to show that you’re not alone in your fears. My daughter is nearly 4 years old now and I the advice I like to give new mothers is, “you know your baby best. If she’s hungry, feed her. If she’s tired, let her sleep. If she needs to be held, hold her. ” you can NOT spoil a baby. Babies need to feel secure. The rest you will learn along the way. Also, what worked today might now work tomorrow. That’s ok.

  12. Jo responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    You’re awesome. I think that the best thing parents can do for their kids is normalize the fact that nobody has it all–we all learn and grow and make mistakes and move on. That’s more preparation for life than just appearing perfect. :)
    I’m not pregnant and don’t have kids, but I’ve read a ton of birth stories/watched the videos because I’m that girl, and because it was kind of my birth control for years. The best thing I’ve read are the Ina May Gaskin books. They’re a little bit hippie, but they read quickly and they’re so reassuring about “your body was built for this” that it kind of overcomes all of those other panicked horror stories. At least in my head at this point, which is admittedly really unhelpful. :)

  13. DES responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    No nesting, ever. Had to be forced at gunpoint to buy receiving blankets, which were the only item out of all the baby STUFF that I could imagine being remotely useful. Baby stores, brrrrrr. I’m not usually of the granola-fed, moonchild persuasion, but in this case I would say go with your instincts. If you want to nest, hey, it’s something to do. I spent my time in the last month reading a lot because I had a suspicion I wouldn’t be able to for a while (I was correct).

  14. Annie responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Ha, I never nested. During those very last days, we did do a bit of cleaning and putting up of pictures that had been sitting around the apartment for months. But it wasn’t, “let’s make it nice for the baby.” It was more, “well, if we don’t do this now, it won’t get done for the next 3 months.”

    Also no matter what, that baby is going to think you are the coolest bestest most awesome thing ever.

  15. Rachel responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi! You’re doing great and I want to wish you something for your upcoming labor, but not sure how one gives a wish to someone else in a situation like this. Take care of yourself and I can’t wait to read about motherhood from your perspective.

  16. Cindy responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    I agree with Erin Lee – we all love you and think you (and Bear) are amazing. I am a firm believer (as one of those college-educated, so far childless people that everyone LOVES to hear parenting opinions from!) that so long as you love your baby, you’re halfway there. Also, your mom is just a phone call away, because who knows better how to keep the baby alive for another day than the woman who kept YOU alive day after day?

    Seriously, though, you’ll be just fine. We believe in you.

  17. Emma responded on 03 Jul 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Hey, I’m only 16 and definitely not about to have a baby but I think one of my Mother’s stories might be helpful to you. Before I start let me tell you my Mom is AMAZING, awesome in the literal sense of the word. She’s brilliant and experience, having changed her major 7 or 8 times as well as attending 3 colleges before she made up her mind about what she wanted to do. (By the way, she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up and she’s turning 44 in October.) Anyway, she eventually decided to become a nurse at the Medical College of Virginia where she was in the top 10 percent of a class of 500 or so students. She then went on to work in the trauma until of an inner city hospital in Richmond which was like hell on earth. I’m giving you this seemingly trivial background information to give the basic idea of her intelligence, curiosity and work ethic which, as you can see is pretty impressive. (This is like a millionth of what she’s done by the way.) In spite of this she refused to attend her graduation because she wasn’t a doctor (even though 90% of the class left leaving her and another 499 students) so clearly she wasn’t intelligent enough. She spent an entire YEAR trying to figure out whether or not she should go to medical school to become a doctor or have me. She worried that if she didn’t go to school she would be a failure and, get this…that I WOULD BE ASHAMED OF HER! I would think she lame, stupid, provincial and lazy. As you can see from my review of her general awesomeness this clearly isn’t the case! Furthermore, even if she wasn’t as great as she is, I wouldn’t feel ashamed of her or love her any less because she’s my MOM. Think about why you love your Mom and what you cared about as a kid. I’m pretty sure your mother’s credentials never even crossed your mind for the first 6, 7, 8 years or so. So, after this incredibly verbose post the feeling I’m hoping you’ll get is one of relief. ALL mother’s regardless of what they do or say have worries like yours and unless you violently abuse your child everything will be just fine <3 P.S. I loooooovve your blog but sometimes like tonight I just want to come and give you a huge back breaking hug because you deserve one. You deserve to love yourself and it makes me incredibly upset that YOU this insightful, funny, intelligent and beautiful (before and after surgery) woman have doubts about yourself. I know everybody does but for you to have them is bordering on absurd. So yeah, love yourself, love your life, love your kid and love cake. Everything is going to be just fine <3

  18. mel responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 12:03 am #

    I read this thing recently, somewhere, I forget where… but it said that newborns have some kind of superpower where if you put them on your chest, they will CRAWL and find the breast, and people say that they’ll instinctively know exactly how breastfeeding is done while the mother might not have any idea. If that’s true, then you’re off the hook!

  19. Sarah S responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 1:21 am #

    What Emma said. It made me a little teary. (What a wonderfully, absurdly wise young woman.)

  20. Courtney responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Several of my friends who are mothers picked one friend or family member to be the communications coordinator for them regarding the birth and the first couple of weeks after the birth. Basically, the coordinator made the calls/emails/social media posts along the lines of “in labor” and “baby’s here/mom & baby safe & well”. They also fielded the offers of help and let people know if/when mom & dad were up to welcoming visitors. It took so much stress off of my friends.

    Second the advice about asking for food, etc. when people offer to help. Ask for what you need, whether it’s food for the freezer, someone to run errands for you, someone to do a load of laundry if you are overwhelmed. Or even just something like, come sit with me and have an adult conversation. When my closest friends had their son, I made a big grocery run for them. They tended to eat a lot of hamburger helper type dishes, so I also browned a bunch of ground meat and divided it into one-recipe packages for the freezer.

  21. Kate responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:27 am #

    @Marie
    Funny.
    I actually noticed right after writing this post that I’ve started feeling very annoyed if things aren’t organized a certain way. That is unlike me. Maybe that’s a form of nesting? What a weird thing…

  22. Kate responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:29 am #

    @mel
    I heard about that, too! Wild! Babies are cool. And I’m pretty sure mine will be precocious, based on her forceful kicking :p So maybe she’ll do this?

    I mentioned it to Bear, actually, and he said, “What if you’re standing up? Can the baby crawl up you then?” Lol. Mountain climbing baby!

  23. Kate responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:30 am #

    @Cindy and Erin Lee

    Thank you so much for this support. It makes me feel all bashful and a little fishing-for-compliments-y (which, I swear, was not the purpose of this piece AT ALL!). But you’re so kind.

  24. Kate responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:35 am #

    @Emma
    This is so sweet and thorough of you! I’m totally touched. And your mom sounds fantastic, as do you, of course.

    Sometimes I think that what makes people the most impressive and interesting is just their approach to the world. It’s funny– my mom hasn’t done any of the things that I think are SO important for me to achieve, but I’ve always respected her and thought her life seemed cool and fulfilling, I think mostly because she is a strong-minded, interesting, opinionated person. That is the stuff that matters. And it’s nice to see the way you think of your mom, too–because obviously, even though she was concerned about how you might feel about her professional life, you are able to appreciate her on a bunch of different levels, starting with her being your mother. Maybe there’s always that basic level. I guess I am going to find out :-)

  25. Kate responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:35 am #

    @Courtney
    Good advice– thank you!!!

  26. debra responded on 04 Jul 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    At the end of my pregnancies, I remember being TOBP (Tired of Being Pregnant). And feeling like a beached whale. And like the dancing hippos in Fantasia.
    Then my daughters were born. When I held them, all that went away. Really.
    Take care, and be good to yourself.

  27. Irina responded on 05 Jul 2013 at 5:13 am #

    I don’t think anybody is ever ready (to start with a cliche :) ). What if nesting is your hormones’ response to `I should try to be ready-er` – and some bodies choose to push brains in that direction, and some don’t, so maybe your brain is more ready than you think. What if the strike from reading books and getting stuff, instead of meaning denial, actually means that there’s a rooted conviction in yourself that the days will follow one another `afterwards` as well and that there’s all the time in the world to learn?

    Pregnancy gives us this chance of gradually getting used to the idea of responsibility for another human being. My husband said it was very different for him, because one minute you’re not a father and the next – you are, while the process of growing a being inside makes women mothers already a while before. But the thing is – you have already chosen this door in the maze of life, you are already on the threshold. Choosing a door does not mean that you stop being able to choose different ones, that everything is set forever. With every choice, you just change the pattern of your particular labyrinth, there are more doors ahead and not all of them related to motherhood. The medical school option is still out there, if it really is something you need to to and not just a benchmark of achievement.
    It might be that, just as in your analysis of how women’s sense of their own beauty works, mirroring is the villain – instead of trusting your own choices, which are badass exactly because they are unique, you feel the pressure to live this huge thing in the photoshopped way in which many exhibit their own experiences for the outer world.

    It has become an essay again. I have a 5 and a 3 year old and I am still constantly scared. Epidural as a last resort, as Marie (i think) said, is a good idea. Nobody needs to prove anything to anybody else. Everything else I could say, including backbreaking hugs, has already been said :) .

  28. Gogo responded on 05 Jul 2013 at 7:00 am #

    The food freezing is excellent advice. I know you think that you don’t know what you will do with her but when she is here, you won’t have time to even think about it. It’s hard to imagine that babies (who just seem to eat and sleep) take up so much time but early parenting is like hard labour. It’s very physically and extremely time consuming. Just when you finish cleaning the bum explosion, it’s time to feed. And then settle. And then clean. And then clean, feed, settle. Repeat about a billion times in one day. Next thing you know you haven’t had a shower in a week and can’t remember what sleep is. So accept ANY offers of help. Don’t be proud, just humbly accept! It’s often from other people who know how hard it is so there’s no reason to be proud. The freezing food idea is good but I didn’t have a baby shower, I just asked people to make a meal- there are a couple of websites and apps that can help you organise your family and friends that want to help out with meals (can’t remember any of the names now) but they help to schedule meals etc (also good for when people are ill as well). In regards to things you need- you just don’t know until they’re born. Some stuff is so superfluous and some is so useful but it’s different with every child. Just get the essentials and wait until they’re born to see what you need.

  29. Amanda responded on 05 Jul 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    So I never comment because I read your blog on my phone, but I just can’t help myself here. Should I start out by saying that I am a midwife and a mother of five unschooling kids? I don’t know if that gives me more street cred or not, but there you go–brace yourself for some strong opinions! First of all, BabyCenter is not a helpful place to hang out online, especially if you are planning an unmedicated labor and birth. The discussion boards at mothering.com might be something to check out. Also, The Mother magazine (http://www.themothermagazine.org) is great since Mothering magazine is no longer being published. As far as perineal massage goes–I think it can be helpful for familiarizing yourself with the stretching sensations of crowning and being able to relax and breathe through that, but it isn’t going to keep you from tearing if you’re going to tear. Being in a good position (i.e. not on your back at all) during the pushing stage is the best thing you can do for your perineum and for your baby who is working hard at that point too. The more you can get into the primal part of your brain that instinctively knows how to do this, the better–even if that means telling everyone else to stfu and leave you alone. I highly recommend reading Whapio Diane Bartlett’s Holistic Stages of Labor for a wonderful explanation of what’s going on physically and energetically at each stage: http://www.thematrona.com/#!__holistic-stages-of-labor. I wish I had been able to read that before I had my own babies.

    Once you get baby here, you’ll really need so much less than you may think you need. A supportive partner (check), an experienced lactation consultant, diapers (prefolds and covers are cheap and easy), a good baby carrier (something Moby wrap-ish), and a car seat (check) to get you home. You’ll figure the rest out, just like we all do with that first one.

    Oh, and I’m sure that your midwife or doula has already pointed out to you that most first time moms go well past 40 weeks. You aren’t even considered “overdue” (and I won’t get into that here) until 42 weeks. Maybe that’s why you aren’t feeling that nesting instinct kick in just yet.

    Blessings to you, Kate! Everything you have done up until now has prepared you for this transition to motherhood. Enjoy these last few weeks of having her all to yourself.

    <3

  30. Liz responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 6:25 am #

    THIS is why at 29 (despite my fertility window closing) I don’t want kids! Kate, you’ll be ‘here’ in 5 years time, still having achieved nothing major, still stressing about your looks but the difference will be YOU WONT HAVE TIME TO DISCUSS IT on your blog.

    I’ve seen quite a few of my friends go through this, your free time is over. Just don’t do one thing, OK? Please don’t ask your single friends what they do with all their free time. The world is full of resentful women who have babies and not enough time to think. That’s fine if you’re having babies at 18 years old but the problem is, by the time we hit out 20s, we’re accustomed to thinking time, it’s a luxury for so many women. Good luck!

  31. Kate responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 9:49 am #

    @Liz
    This comment really made me think. Because it’s exactly what I’m afraid of. You’re telling me I’m not that accomplished (I’m always scared of people thinking that about me) and that I’m making a huge mistake with my life.

    But here’s the thing: even though I write about feeling mixed emotions and being nervous and stuff– because, in my opinion, that is what makes a story, and that is the reality of being alive– I don’t agree with you. And having to give up some time doesn’t sound like a good reason not to have kids to me, if you want them. If you actually don’t, then that is the reason in and of itself. But if you do, but you’re worried about being busy– then that sounds like unfortunate logic to me.

    When I think about achievement, even as my monkey mind goes “you haven’t ever done anything major!!” I kind of think that most people haven’t. Who do you know who has done incredible, world-changing things? Have you? Should that always even be the goal?

    Sometimes that thought makes life feel very small. And then sometimes I realize that it’s not really “achieving” whatever it is that I think is such a big deal that gives life all of its meaning. There’s more to meaning than that. That’s a part of it– but relationships are a HUGE part, too. I want to make sure I always make room in my life for them.

    Oy, this is getting long. Just a few more things, because I can’t help myself:

    Lots of women with kids are still doing a lot of other things with their lives. Most of the women I really admire professionally have kids now or have had them at some point.

    Ironically, this comment of yours has made me realize how to finish a chapter about career and babies in a book about pregnancy I’m working on that is coming out soon. It’s interesting how much work I’ve gotten done recently, as I approach my due date. I don’t really plan on stopping, ever, even though of course my life will change and I will make time for my daughter.

    Oh, and ONE more thing: maybe your friends with babies complain to you about their lack of free time because they know you don’t want babies yourself and they are trying to be nice and keep the friendship going. I have caught myself saying things like “it’s so fun and adventurous to be single!” to my single friends, even though I would never ever trade my marriage in for being single at this point.

    OK, I think I’m done.

    Good luck back to you!

  32. Jenn responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Nesting doesn’t always end up being productive, like doing the dishes. I literally organized my sock drawer a little while before my first was born. I did not need to do it, but dammit, it had to be done. My nesting has so far been bursts of obsessive organization, even when there are other “more important” things to get done for the arrival of the baby. For my second baby, I hadn’t even packed for the hospital when I went into labor. I woke my husband up at 4am and said “I think we should pack because I might be in labor” (And those Braxton Hicks get so intense toward the end that I never believe I’m in labor when I actually am).

    Maybe it’s just me, but it is such a relief to have children. I don’t feel the pressure of “what have you done with your life” because I have two toddlers and a pregnant belly: they answer that question just by following me to the grocery store! I find that once our first was born, the focus was no longer on me, but on my little person, and I was excused from thinking so much about myself. I really think that having kids has made me less self-absorbed and confident in myself.

    And I know this is advice, and you’re not supposed to give advice unless it’s asked for…BUT if you are going to go the unmedicated route, can you labor in a tub? I have had an epidural birth and an unmedicated birth, and I was able to have the endurance for the 8 hour unmedicated labor (not very long, I know) by resting between contractions in a tub. You don’t need to necessarily deliver in a tub, but the warm water is so soothing and supports your weight so nicely.

    Also, my 2nd recommendation is finding a lactation consultant with the acronym “IBCLC” in their title (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Breastfeeding is challenging and painful at first for many women, and it can be really easy to give up, but if you have good support, you will be more likely to overcome the challenges that may come. I’ve been educating myself more about breastfeeding lately, and I follow “The Boob Geek” on Facebook. She always shares some really interesting info, and even though it’s really tough to sort through all the stuff to read right now, maybe you’ll remember it as a resource for later, when you’re reading on your phone at 3am while nursing your little barracuda. :)

    I wish you the best in your delivery, and hope it is an empowering experience, and that you hear the might of woman roar through time as you deliver your daughter.

  33. Jenn responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Okay okay okay I wish I could like comments on here. All the nesting stories are so hilarious and capture the obsessiveness that I felt with nesting!

  34. Jenn responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    @mel, YES!!! I am going to try the breast crawl with the baby I’m pregnant with! I had never heard of it before, but it makes so much more sense than what I’ve done so far: smash my boob into a tiny, unsuspecting mouth. There’s a video of it on YouTube. Skip to 2:20 for the breast crawl part. (And it’s a breastfeeding video, so please be advised there’s a boob.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrwfIcPB1u4

  35. Courtney Ostaff responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    You know what? You don’t have to worry about doing anything. Babies sleep 22 hours a day. Yes, that’s right, 22 hours a day. As long as you feed them (“Here kid, here’s a nipple. Go to town. I’m going back to sleep.”), wipe their butts approximately 6x a day, and keep them the right temperature (the little gowns work nicely–you don’t even have to unsnap to change a diaper), you can sit around a read or write all damn day.

    It’s fabulous. “No, I can’t help you move, new baby!” “No, I can’t go shopping for 16 hours until my feet are killing me, new baby!” “No, I can’t clean the kitchen, new baby!”

    They can’t see farther than 8″ away from their face, so they don’t care if the house is a mess. A Boppy pillow, a comfy chair, and someone to hold the kid for an hour a day while you bathe, and you’re good to go. Enjoy it!!

    Also, once you have a kid, you have accomplished something major, and you’re employed for the next 20 years–you’re raising a human being, which is the original, most important job on Earth. Nothing else matters as much.

    A child is your chance to make history–after you’re dead and gone, that child and that child’s children will continue your family’s legacy down through the ages. Some of those things are small–my great-grandma’s distaste for coffee, for example. Some of those things are huge–a statistically improbable chance of raising a Nobel prize-winner.

    You won’t know until it happens, but you know you’re leaving a human being for the future. That *is* the accomplishment.

  36. Amy responded on 06 Jul 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I had my boy 3 weeks ago and I must say, nothing was or has been as scary or painful or horrifying as I had expected. My labor was induced (which took 3 attempts. He was stubborn) and FAST. 4 hours altogether. No pain meds until repairs, if you will, had to be made afterward.

    I did not read one book or practice any breathing or make any plan. Just let things happen as they happen.

    I didn’t really nest either. The baby’s room still isn’t done. And I don’t stress about it. The way I see it, decor is more for us than for them. He spends almost zero time in his room right now. And when he does, he’ll be asleep. He doesn’t care what color the walls are or what the “theme” is. He cares that he’s comfy and secure.

    You will be just fine. Better than that, probably. You will know what to do. You won’t know how you know, you just will.

  37. Chelle B. responded on 07 Jul 2013 at 12:09 am #

    I am a mother. I have given birth exactly three times and my youngest just turned 19 (does sign of the cross even though I am not Catholic). I was 19 when I had my first one and I look at her and think to myself what a child I was. Be glad you waited. Be glad you had the time to accomplish the things you’ve accomplished already. Enjoy being a mommy and look forward to the day when you look at your child when he or she is the same age you are when you gave birth to them. It’s rather amazing and humbling.

  38. R responded on 07 Jul 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I’m so envious.

  39. Vicky responded on 08 Jul 2013 at 12:38 am #

    You go girl. Awesome response to Liz. I really admire you, Kate, and I’m so excited for you! As another commentator said, I can’t wait to hear about motherhood from your perspective!

    Vicky
    PS– I was in Brooklyn the other day and kept wondering if I’d see you walking around. I would have totally said hi ;)

  40. Jennifer responded on 08 Jul 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Came looking for you because I needed a shot of confidence. I’m one of your large-nosed sisters who wants a really short hair cut. Since pictures of our type are rare on Google Images, I came here to ogle your hair and nose and find: you’re nearly a mother!

    My sister just had her first 2 mos. ago. (Mine are 10 and 12 years old.) I was in delivery with her the whole time. She is ambitious–the primary wage and insurance earner in her relationship–but she is finding a baby most gratifying. It took about a month to adjust. She had spent a decade traveling & spending & consuming only to be turned suddenly very much INWARD: in the body, on the body, all about baby’s body.

    Twelve+ years out from those days, I am starting to think about what else I might do with my life; however, working for the sustenance of your kith and kin feels so essential. This kind of work must be done by SOMEONE. For those who became doctors? They pay others to do it. For those of us who did not become doctors/professionals…we hybrid work and home or solely support the home.

    You will find the fit for you, just like you found everything else that has flowed into and stayed in your life. What doesn’t fit gets weeded out.

    Finally, because you’re a creative person, here’s something I posted the day I watched my sister birth her son:

    “The creative act is one of doubt, confusion, impatience, boredom, anxiety, questions without exact answers, losing control, crying, joking, pushing and pushing when you don’t know how you’ll go on.

    It is not a feat of ease to be ditched just because it’s hard. Watch a person enter this world and realize that making something new is a passionate, destructive, forceful act.”

  41. Kate responded on 08 Jul 2013 at 9:50 am #

    @Jennifer
    Damn, woman, that thing you wrote is GORGEOUS. Thank you.

    I think there’s something really cool about being that kind of ambitious person and letting yourself be impacted by a baby at the same time. It feels like a collision. It feels healthy, too, like admitting that maybe there’s more than my own mind and my own goals.

  42. Katie Marini responded on 08 Jul 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Hi Kate,

    I have a five month old daughter and I definitely can relate to the feeling before labor of thinking it’s “too late.” It’s like all of a sudden you have to be a perfect adult who has all her ducks lined up. You say that you’re not nesting–but those are the same impulses that make people complusively straighten a nursery or clean out a kitchen. We’re all hoping that our ducks are lined up just enough to raise semi-well adjusted children.

    Of course, by month 2, you realize that even a perfectly organized nursery can become a pigsty. And you realize further that the act of straightening your ducks is a life-long, neverending process. I hope that helps alleviate the tension.

    My advice–try to enjoy life as much as possible, given the discomforts of being pregnant. Take advantage of your fleeting freedom to sleep in and enjoy your alone time with Bear. As for the drug free birth, I’d keep open minded. You might end up surprising yourself and not need any drugs or you might need to get an epidural. I ended up getting an epidural and I am SO SO happy for the advances in modern medicine. As for the breastfeeding (I breastfed for 4.5 months), make sure to schedule at least 2 visits with a lactation specialist after the baby is born. They really helped!

    I just found out I’m pregnant with baby #2 and am due in January, so I’m going to be on this roller coaster ride all over again ;)

    Good luck!

  43. Cinthia responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 1:20 am #

    I never nested. Never finished the nursery, didn’t buy a carseat until the day before labor, never put my son on a schedule, etc., just let him be, and it all turned out fine. Don’t worry about labor. The female body is so powerful and so amazing. Birthing was the most real experience of my life. I still miss it; I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
    P.S. I didn’t practice breathing either. In fact, all those childbirth education classes did nothing for me. Your body knows what to do. Just follow its cues and you’ll be fine.
    P.S.S. I don’t think I ever nested. I was/am an unorganized and scattered mother and my son turned out just fine. Nesting is more about consumerism than instinct.
    P.S.S. You are beautiful. Big, big hugs!

  44. Smokering responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 2:49 am #

    I’ve had two so far. In terms of birth, here’s my most helpful advice:

    You have to get into the mindset of “The only way out is through”. With my first I was induced in a hospital due to pre-eclampsia, and I was so thrown by the sudden loss of my planned home waterbirth that I devolved into a truly pitiful “Why is this happening to meeee, make it stooooop” mentality. I just wanted labour to go away. When the midwife kept saying things like “We need to move it along, let’s climb some stairs!” I impotently hated her and thought “You want me to voluntarily try to make this WORSE? You’re insane!”

    Second birth, after plenty of Hypnobabies and soul-searching and general getting-my-act-together, I realised that once you’re in labour, birth is pretty much inevitable. I made myself welcome the contractions. I repeated to myself (silently!) things like “That’s one down, I’ll never have to do that one again, that’s one less to do before the baby gets here”, and “We’re getting there”. I made myself welcome the contractions as a challenge. You wouldn’t believe the difference it made. And thanks to Hypnobabies, I’d learned not to tense up against the contractions and fight them, but relax through them – it’s hard, because the instinct is to tense up, but it helps immeasurably. Think about it – if your leg cramps, tightening it further won’t help, relaxing it will. Keeping your jaw loose, your mouth open and your wrists flapping loosely helps (in labour, not for leg cramps!), if you don’t mind looking like a weirdo.

    The other thing: labour pain is not mysterious. You’ve been in pain before. Figure out what helps. When you have menstrual cramps, do you use a hot water bottle or a hot shower? So use ‘em during labour. Does it help to roll around, rub the sore area, distract yourself with music? Do that. Go with your gut and your body will naturally find ways to help ease the pain – for me it was lots of shifting around, and a wheatie bag so hot I found out later it burned my tummy. (SO WORTH IT.)

    My only other advice is, if you can birth in an upright position and push only as much as your body’s making you – no forced pushing, even holding back a little if you can, to give things time to stretch and swell – it’s marvellous. I gave birth to my nine-pound-six son standing up with no tears, and it was awesome. No guarantee of course, but it helps.

    As far as the baby goes, bah. You’ll be fine. :) Babies are programmed to think you’re awesome.

    And my first baby failed the breastcrawl! She kept overshooting the mark until I got sick of it and latched her on. She nursed fine in the end, so I guess it didn’t matter, but it was funny at the time. With baby number two, I forgot all about it and just latched him on as soon as he emerged. He’s doing OK too. :p

  45. Kate responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 9:20 am #

    @Smokering
    SO HELPFUL. I love what you say about labor pain. I think I imagine it sometimes as this totally, totally mysterious, different thing that there is no possible way to prepare for.

    I don’t think I mind looking like a weirdo :-)

  46. danielle responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Best nursing advice I ever received was get some all purpose nipple ointment from a doctor. Works great and it’s not bad for the baby.

    You are nesting, it’s just taking the form of worrying:-). No mom completely has her shit together. Anyone who looks like they do is completely faking.

  47. mamallama responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Dear Kate,

    I have to second that bit about working with the contractions. Pain is not the worst thing in the world, you know. It just is, and there’s lots of ways to help yourself through!

    And I’m a singer, so I SANG that baby out. Maybe you will, too. Singing is such a cool way of being in the moments, being in my body, and connecting all my soul with my body (to make the sound of my voice.) And it’s a great way to be open and breathing, so the moments come and go. Nurses kept sort of peeking in, because I was sounding good. I had to decide that i didn’t care if i sounded weird, but then my singing totally changed that hospital room so it was my space for the birth of my baby. It was actually great to be in the hospital, in a shower with a stool, because they have HUGE water heaters that don’t run out. Yes, I had to get out of the shower eventually, but i was able to stay in a long time, until it just felt like time for the next phase of standing up.

    The singing time was the birth of my second child. The first was OK, too, and unmedicated, and early! though my husband and i are always late.

    Both girls are awesome. The first one is about to go to college, and it really doesn’t matter that she spent her first few weeks in a blanket-lined cardboard box, because the family cradle my mother was shipping to me hadn’t arrived yet!

    Thanks for writing and hosting this sharing space.

  48. Josh responded on 09 Jul 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    it is totally bewildering, i remember when i was pregnant with my son, who is now 21. The concept of giving birth, of becoming a mother, you are never prepared.
    I had two home births, both without pain meds. They where painful and wonderful at the same time. And breastfeeding is great, after the first two weeks in which you constantly fear for everything. Hang on and breath out. I wish you all the best and all the luck in the world.

  49. Isabel responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I found pregnancy very surreal – took years to get there so it never entirely seemed real. We went through a crazy birth experience and I still felt oddly detached, until they were releasing us from the hospital and I realized they were letting us take the little bundle home…without supervision. Breastfeeding wasn’t as hard or weird as I thought but having a good support system – like a lactation consultant on speed dial – was crucial. And, yes most baby gear is ugly…carseats, swings, jumpers and whatever else has been invented and deemed “necessary” in the last 2.5 years since I had mine. Just choose what does the job and offends you the least. The baby won’t mind as long as you’re there too.

  50. Laura responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I found your blog through your most recent article on HuffPo which was about becoming a “mommy.” HuffPo wasn’t allowing comments so I came here to tell you – look for organic friendships. I get the feeling that you want authenticity in your friendships and I don’t think you’ll necessarily find that at Mommy groups (and that’s okay). The friends I had before my daughter are the same ones I have now. I don’t want friends with whom all I have in common is my child – I want friends that love me for me.

    I went to prenatal counseling a few times because…whoa…I was going to be a freaking mother…and my therapist told me something that always stuck with me. Babies start off as newborns who just need to be loved, cuddled and fed. Once you get comfortable with that stage, you move onto parenting an infant that still needs all those things but combined with some playing, entertainment and lots of teething toys. Infancy then prepares you for toddlerhood which leads into parenting a preschooler…and so on. Don’t worry about parenting a one-year-old yet, just try and focus on taking care of a newborn and then each step will fall into place.

    And yes, Leo IS a great astrological sign. All the evidence I need to back up this theory is named Madonna.

  51. Jennifer Harper responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Okay, take a deep breath and relax. Excepting the sleep deprivation, it’s all relatively easy until they turn three. Then all bets are off. :)

  52. Laura responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    I HATED being pregnant. HATED. It was the worst experience of my life and when my son was born, I felt love, but more of a protective, you’re-too-small-to-fend-for-yourself love than a “OMG I’M A MOMMY!” love. I slowly fell for him and now, I love him more and more every day. It’s a true gift because I had no idea the capacity I had for love and caring. And PATIENCE. So. Much. Patience.

    Breast feeding was rough for me and my boy. He couldn’t have been less interested in the boob, so after four months of agony for everyone, we switched to bottles and formula and he’s never been sick aside from a little fever. Do what feels right for you and your baby.

    As far as shopping for the gear goes, just get a Chicco infant car seat (best on the market right now) and the stroller caddy that goes with it. Get a moses basket, diaper pail and diapers, some swaddling blankets, a few onesies, beanies, and gloves and you’re covered for a bit. Order everything else on line as you need it.

    “Mommy” culture sucks. It’s a constant exercise in comparing our insides with other people’s outsides. I refuse to participate and I’m a much healthier person because of it. We’ll see if this lasts, but it feels good now.

    The fact that you’re worried about it means you’ll be great a the whole mommy thing. You have some humility. That’s the first thing a good parent needs. Everything else comes with experience. Mazel tov!

  53. Sarah responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    I am not a happy pregnant person. My first born is almost 5 and it took me those 5 years to get pregnant again…not because I couldn’t but because I really didn’t want to be pregnant or have a newborn again! I was never one of those woman bragged to the world about being pregnant. And this time I still call the baby “it” as I’m not quite ready to give “it” a name or gender yet. I gave birth with no drugs. A will do that again. I was amazed how much it hurt, but again at how quickly the pain ends the minute your baby comes out and how quickly you heal. The body is pretty amazing. I breast fed for 9 months. Never did get my daughter to latch and had to use nipple shields to “fool” her. She preferred the bottle I guess. Those 9 months were not “glorious”…but I breast fed her happily knowing I was doing the best I could do to make her a healthy human. Every bit of pain, tears, sweat, anger, sleep deprivation was worth it. I adore my daughter (who couldn’t though, she is the best!;)). And yes, I’m doing it again. Not because I loved being pregnant or having a newborn baby…but because I adore being a mom to my beautiful loving daughter.

    I don’t think I nested…but most likely did out of boredom those last few weeks waiting for baby to make her appearance. That and I ate the last few weeks. Alot. More than my entire pregnancy combined I think. I’m sure the 25lbs I gained were almost entirely gained in those last few weeks… I think my BODY was the one nesting :)

  54. Alana responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Okay, so I just….you just wrote basically everything that went through my mind while I was pregnant. As in…I literally said to my husband, “maybe I should have applied to medical school!”. Maybe I should have tried harder to make something of myself instead of giving into what I REALLY wanted and getting pregnant at 26. I freaked out and I couldn’t imagine how I was going to give birth and bond with those babies that I was somehow supposed to love, and I was sure I was going to end up as one of those crazy depressed new mamas. I didn’t buy anything cute, and I was just…you know, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

    Then I gave birth at twenty-five weeks, and all that stuff I was worried about didn’t mean a damn thing anymore. I pushed one baby out, they cut out the other, I had no idea what I was supposed to do because I didn’t have time to think about a birth plan, and none of this is going how it’s supposed to go, and everything went so terribly. But now here I am six months later with these hilarious little beings who kind of look like me, and it feels like they were always here (even though I spent SO LONG agonizing over the decision to get pregnant), and I kind of feel like that person who worried about all that stuff when she was pregnant was just…there was no way I could have known then how different everything would be now.

    So my two cents here, if you want it, is that you might as well keep on freaking out until that baby comes because how could you not! And then she’ll make her way into the world one way or another and it will be life changing and six months later it will be hard to even imagine what you feel like right now.

    You can so do this.

  55. Awthomas responded on 11 Jul 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Im not sure if you even read all these comments but I wantd to tell you I felt just like you did about 5 years ago. I remember walking down the street at 8 months pregnant laying it all out there that I was absolutely not going to have this baby ever. Then my dr convinced me to hire a doula. She was a labor and delivery rn for years and now works as a doula and lives on the UWS. Her name is Lanice France. Strong tall beautiful woman who just makes you feel like everything is going to be ok and can distract you with stories about the march on Washington and Martin Luther King when you feel uneasy. I wish I could remember her number but if you call the office of Dr Ketly Michel she will give you her number. I know I’m just another stranger telling you what to do but she changed my whole birth. Ps you don’t need any of the baby stuff just some blankets and diapers mad a few onesies will do for now.

  56. Kate responded on 11 Jul 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    @Awthomas
    I absolutely read all of these comments! And I appreciate them a lot, even though I don’t have time to respond to all of them.

    I am so glad you had that doula with you. I interviewed a bunch of doulas before I chose the one I wanted to work with (the one who will see me naked, undone, animalistic– it feels like a big decision). My doula, Kristy, is so warm and comfortable with herself. She smiles readily and knowing she’ll be there is already comforting!

  57. Michelle Villemaire responded on 11 Jul 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Is it bad that I read this and was overcome with nostalgia for my own first pregnancy? I wish I could say something to relieve the anxiety, but as I’m sure you know, it’s just part of the process– like writing. Gotta get through the muck before relishing in the delights of the completed work. Congratulations on your pregnancy. You can do it, girl! xx

  58. Kate responded on 11 Jul 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    @Michelle
    Lol! No! That’s a great reaction.
    And don’t worry– you don’t have to relieve my anxiety :-) I just have to write about it occasionally.

  59. Heather M. responded on 12 Jul 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Kate, you’ll be fine.

    Lots of good advice shared here. I will add two bits. In this increasingly precious time before the two of you become three, GO OUT and ENJOY YOURSELF. Go to a movie, or out to supper. Or to the local book store — with friends, with your DH, or with anyone who will go out with you.
    (Because in a short time, it will involve miracles in order to get yourself and your sweet appendage out the door. Not that it’s a bad thing… just different, and it takes longer.)

    And REST as much as you can. Before you laugh hysterically, please know I understand that it is one of God’s cruel jokes that you can’t sleep for a few weeks/months before the baby comes… and you won’t sleep for a few months after the baby comes. So take any rest/sleep/naps etc. while you can. However you can.

    You’re going to be a great mom. The only ones who are not great moms are the ones who don’t care.

    Hugs, Heather

  60. kristine responded on 13 Jul 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I have no advice…I’m here to say thank you. I am approaching the 6 month mark and feel like I’m having a serious identity crisis with this whole family thing. Stumbling across your blog was just what I needed this week.

    I live between Park Slope and Sunset Park in Brooklyn. I couldn’t have two more different examples of family life to observe (in terms of financial status), and neither of them feel right to me. Just last summer I was ready to beat the parents that let their children play in the bocce ball courts of the beer garden while they sat at the bar. My friends assumed I hated kids, when in fact I hated their parents. Don’t even get me started on the mom who spent an inappropriate amount of time showing her toddler how to use the ATM at Chase while a line of about 7 people began to fume.

    To give some perspective, folks know me as the gal who, #1 doesn’t need a man, and #2 would rather be the ‘cool aunt’ than the parent. So settling in with my man last year and launching head first into family life has confused most people in my circle. Although I have had friends and family tell me that I will make a wonderful mother, and I can’t help but ask, “how do you know this?! explain!!” I think they’re just trying to make me feel good.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely okay with our decision to have our baby…I’m actually looking forward to it, I just know that I’m not like “those moms”. I don’t even know if I know how to think like a mom. All I know (and maybe this is part of nesting) is that I don’t want to raise this baby in nyc. I’m not originally from here, and now that I have to learn how to think like a mom, I want other things for my family. My precious little angle doesn’t need to fill her lungs with the smell of garbage on a blistering hot day/week/month. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the slim pickings of apartments in a city slowing filling with trust fund kids.

    I am lucky enough to have a (soon-to-be) husband who is a native new yorker that has also grown tired of this town. We are moving, just not right now, and I’m having a hard time keeping my eye on the prize when it’s somewhere else that I would rather be. My first test of motherhood is apparently learning to compromise and enjoy this time with baby growing inside while ignoring the things that piss me off.

    So, after all that rambling…thank you for making me feel like I’m not crazy and I don’t have to follow someone else’s prescription for a perfect family.

    Now, time to get back to your other posts….

    kristine

  61. Fidelma responded on 19 Jul 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I am mother to a beautiful 2 month old boy and you are in for some of the best times. Labour was surprisingly quick and easy – yes, it hurt but it was a manageable pain and there are breaks, even if they are short, between contractions. A combo of yoga breathing, hypobabies visualisation ( surges, each one bringing me closer to meeting my baby), hot shower and kneeling forward over an exercise ball got me there. I had an hour of gas and air but no other pain relief. It’s manageable and then it’s over… And you do forget. In a way anyway. It has definitely become fuzzier already.

    As for breastfeeding, hopefully you’ll have little trouble. It didn’t work for me and if it doesn’t the most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t make you a better mother. You have to do what works and killing yourself trying is not better than formula. Your baby will need a mother who is healthy and well and able to look after her, not someone sick and stressed. But, hopefully it’ll be grand once you are over the initial adjustment period.

    The first weeks are the hardest but they pass quickly and you’ll miss just how small and cute your baby was then. So savour it as much as you can. And rest as much as you can. Career and housework will still be there in a few months.

    You’ll do great!

  62. Ana responded on 25 Nov 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    I’m not scared of giving birth (which is odd and meant to happen in less than a month) but I am terrified about having to actually take the baby home.
    My mum lives in NZ and is coming over to Australia (Sydney where I live) for a few weeks after the birth and my MIL lives over the road but the whole thought of being alone with a little person scares the crap out of me.
    Maybe I’m not scared of birth itself because I am so over being pregnant. Its hot here (no glow here its just a sheen of sweat and oil) and honestly its not all miracles, rainbows and sparkly unicorns that some people seem think it is.
    Why isn’t it OK to say you think a large portion of pregnancy sucks?
    Also why are women on some baby blogs so awful most of the time? Weirdly militant about having to like it?

  63. Karly responded on 12 Feb 2014 at 4:07 pm #

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